Battersea Arts Centre
|Battersea Arts Centre|
|Designation||Grade II* listed|
|Owned by||BAC Trust|
|Capacity||500 Grand Hall
140 Lower Hall
|Other names||1893 Vestry of St Mary
1900 Battersea Town Hall
|Production||The Masque of the Red Death|
The theatre was founded in 1980 in a Grade II* listed building which originally opened in 1893 as Battersea Town Hall. The building was designed in 1891 by E. W. Mountford. The space was converted to a community arts centre in 1974. BAC currently receives grants towards the building's operating costs from Arts Council England and the London Borough of Wandsworth, among others.
In 1901 a large pipe organ was installed in the Grand Hall. This was an unusual instrument designed by Robert Hope-Jones, a pioneering organ builder who invented many aspects of the modern pipe organ. His ideas went on to form the basis of the Wurlitzer theatre organ in the 1920s and 30s. The BAC pipe organ has been unusable for years, but restoration work has begun.
David Jubb has been the BAC's artistic director since 2004. In 2008 he was joined by David Micklem, with whom he shares the Joint Artistic Directorship of BAC. In October 2012 Micklem announced his decision to step down.
BAC operates a "scratch" methodology as part of its "ladder of development" for new work. Performances are shown at various stages of development to an outside audience, whose input and criticism guides the further evolution of the work.
On 8 and 9 October 2012, the pop band McFly used the location to film a video for their single "Love Is Easy".
- Punchdrunk Theatre Company's promenade performance of "The Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Allan Poe ran through most of the building from September 2007 to April 2008
- Richard Thomas's early work as Kombat Opera, including Tourette's Diva, leading to the development of Jerry Springer - The Opera, which premièred at BAC in 2002, before transferring to the Royal National Theatre
- Jackson's Way, the winner of the 2004 Perrier Award in Edinburgh. A one-man show which mocks the world of motivational speaking and embraces it through encouraging 'pointless actions'.
Companies and artists performing at BAC have included:
- Neil Harbisson
- Mark Thomas
- Michael McIntyre
- David Hoyle
- Ra-Ra Zoo
- Kneehigh Theatre
- Theatre de Complicite
- Will Adamsdale
- Greg Davies
- The Plague (English punk rock band)
- Told By An Idiot